Define the Relationship

“Relationships must be defined.”

This was the first relationship principle that was given at the first Relationships Empowerment Group I attended through my church.

In college, I often heard it referred to as “DTR”. It made me chuckle a little bit while also wanting to roll my eyes at how often I had used that reference in my own relationships. “Girl, we had to have the DTR talk…”

I ignorantly used this term not realizing it was a powerful principle that should be used in all relationships.

My fiancé and I were engaged to be married on March 7, 2013. We are really excited to marry each other and look forward to impacting the world together. Maybe a little too excited, because upon our engagement, we quickly started calling each other husband and wife. Oh, it was so cute! (at least we thought so).  He would post sweet messages on facebook referring to me as “wife”  I would send him texts calling him my “husband”.  We were living it up with those terms! But, after a while, frustration crept in.  One thing I know for sure, is great frustration shows up when God is trying to shift my direction. Frustration makes me look inward, ask the tough questions, and investigate the situation to come to a solution.

I started feeling uncomfortable calling my fiancé, my “husband” and him calling me his wife. I also felt like we were confusing people and possibly painting a negative picture about relationships.

So, I decided to finally deal with the frustration. I remember looking up the definition for  fiancé; the information was breathtaking! Fiance’ means “promise.” [Flashback: In our first marriage counseling session, our Pastor said that we were each other’s promises from Heaven.]  I guess in all of our excitement, we forgot that a promise takes time to be fulfilled. The time in between is the process. I remember as a kid, my mom promised me $10 for every A I received on my report card. I was so excited! I worked hard and got as many A’s as I could.  At the end of the quarter I had an extra $50 or $60 in my pocket, yay, promise fulfilled!!

See, the process can be exciting if you place the proper value on it.  During the process you are being sharpened, refined, fine-tuned so you’ll know how to handle the promise when it is fulfilled. You will value it and not take it for granted. I remember times when I didn’t place the proper value on defining my relationships and I certainly missed the beautiful and powerful purpose of them. Rushing through process can easily cause unnecessary conflict in the relationship later.

I am happy to say, my fiancé and I had the DTR conversation and it amplified our lives. We are still extremely excited, but have slowed down to enjoy our process of  learning how to communicate, setting up pillars that we will stand on, how to make the best decisions together, likes/dislikes, how to handle disagreement, and intentionally apply the principles we are learning in marriage counseling. We are impacting each other with joy, peace, empowerment, faith, energy, confidence, boldness…it’s been a beautiful experience and well worth it.

Today, take a moment to evaluate your evaluate your relationships.  Do they need to be defined or redefined? Everyone is not your friend, everyone is not your significant other, confidant, family, boo, lover, etc. You can feel closely connected to someone and do all these things for them only to find out later that they didn’t define the relationship in the same way you did.   I’ve experienced that in so-called friendships, romantic relationships, professional, and family and ended up with great disappointment.  You tend to discover the truth when conflict or frustration arises.

So, why do we need to define the relationship?

1)To determine the purpose of the relationship.

2) To know how much to engage or not engage.

3) To cut down on unrealistic or premature expectations.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I want to hear from you! Share an experience about a DTR conversation you have had recently or in the past. What was the outcome—did it amplify your relationship afterward or did you have to disconnect?

Organizing the Inside 365 Days

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. ~Proverbs 3:6

Create a partnership
Living the Christian life means creating a partnership with the Lord. God put certain strengths within you to enable you to fulfill His plan for your life. Your TAGS- talents, abilities, gifts and skills are tools to help you succeed.  Your partnership with God requires a certain level of trust. You must trust that He knows everything you need to carry out His will in the earth. You need God’s help, and you don’t have to do things on your own.  … Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Focus on doing what you are good at
Many Christian women, especially those who are entrepreneurs and business leaders tend to wear too…

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Take Notice of the Birds

Are you not much more valuable than birds?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Over the weekend I had plenty of time to take notice of the birds. My friends and I drove to Kansas City, and I couldn’t help but notice the birds. They were so beautiful flying in formation together. My mind went to the scripture above and I heard God saying, “Do not worry, I am taking care of you and you are much more valuable to me than the birds.”

Have you ever wondered why birds don’t worry? It’s because they are secure. Security is a result of being aware of who you are. Birds never strayed from their original purpose in the Kingdom of God. Every day they get their food, provide for their young, and work together without worry. Birds understand and agree with the truth that God provides for them.

When you agree with worry, you are choosing to step out of the provision and protection of the Kingdom. You’re basically saying you don’t trust that your Heavenly Father is providing for you and that you know a better way to take care of everything. Honestly, God will honor your will to provide for yourself, but He will also embrace you when you decide you want Him to take care of those things concerning you.

So, how do you put a stop to worry? Review these key points and action steps:

1) Your Heavenly Father is a PROVIDER and He is more than capable of taking care of you.

2) God’s plan is always to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

3) You are in the Kingdom; there is nothing missing, lacking, or incomplete about you.

4) Agree with your position of power.
Ephesians 2:6 (NIV) And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…”

5) Concentrate on who you are.

6) Find scriptures that confirm your identity and God’s provision.

These points will help you to become subconsciously & consciously aware of what your spirit already knows. You are a Son/Daughter of the King. You are whole; complete and lacking nothing!

Remember, when Jesus died on the cross He said, “it is finished.” That means everything is already taken care of: your finances, every bill, the spouse you asked for, the success of your business, the degree you started, the restoration of relationships…it is finished.

Genesis 1:28 The Message (MSG)
26-28 God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike. Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”

Are you worried? Take notice of the birds.

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Rejoice, always.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice!” Philippians 4:4

Am I reading this correctly? Rejoice always, at all times, no matter what. What about when the car breaks down, it seems I have more bills than money, I put myself in a bad situation, a family member is sick, I have a disagreement with my spouse or friend? What about the unexplainable: the child born with a defect, stories of rape and sexual abuse, natural disasters, or senseless acts of violence, what about all that has happened to me? “Always be full of joy in the Lord…”

Not joy in the tv, the lovely nap, the car you just bought, fresh baked cookies, new clothes, or the flowers you received, but joy in the Lord. Paul is saying this because he knows things/people/experiences can bring happiness, but only God brings joy. Eventually, you have to cut the tv off, wake up, park the car, eat the cookies, etc. But God; He is unchanging, the same yesterday, today, and forever. His character, love, abounding grace, righteousness, and peace remain. This may sound a bit harsh, but your joy should not be hindered by circumstances or afflictions.

How is it possible to have joy and be strong in the Lord? It’s simple, BE in His presence.

“In His presence there is fullness of joy…”

Joy is a natural outcome of fellowship with God. Joy is permanent, full, weighty, joy enhances, joy trumps sorrow and suffering. Joy also strengthens. Nehemiah said “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” [Neh 8:10]. Rejoicing in God and serving Him with a thankful heart will give strength to your mind and body to perform your duties, stand firm, and oppose the enemies schemes. The more you understand God’s word, the more comfort you find in it.

When I fellowship with God, I like to sing. Which is neat because my middle name, Rena, is Hebrew for joyous melody/song and peace. I’ve been told I’m a walking jukebox or musical. Every moment I spend with the Lord is not the same. Sometimes, I simply sit before Him, lay out, listen intently, journal, dance, cry, read, listen to music, reflect on His goodness, what He has done, His promises, or a combination of those. It doesn’t matter, I’m just desperate to get in His presence. Honestly, I don’t always “feel” different after being with Him. That’s why you can’t trust feelings; they’re too fickle. When I don’t have joy afterward I ask myself “why” because I want to be on the same page as God. What am I holding onto, what lie do I believe? I’m completely honest and real about what I’m feeling or thinking, no matter how silly it seems. When you have that expectation you are allowing God to completely shift your perspective to His. It’s extremely important to be in His presence. If you can shift your perspective, your emotions will line up correctly and you will have the renewed strength of the Lord to help you through anything.

“He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.”
Job 8:21

Enjoy! “Trading my Sorrow” by Israel Hougton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yD9sNVyu-gE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Waiting for dinner

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As a child I used to sit in the kitchen and watch my mother cook. She was meticulous; taking her time to ensure she followed the recipe while also adding her own flair. The spices seasoned the air and greatly increased my anticipation for what she was preparing. I would become so full of excitement and impatience that I literally would have hunger pains! (I’ve always been a bit dramatic)
This annoyed my mother and she would make me leave the kitchen until dinner was served, which only seemed to make the wait longer. I can laugh at it now but that used to make me so upset. After a few times of this I came to realize the awesome power of snacks!

For the past two months I have been feeling like that little girl waiting for dinner. Each day becoming more and more excited for the meal to be served. Two weeks ago I would have been on the road to Chicago, but I was delayed or better yet, I gained an extended stay…at least two or three more weeks. I was disappointed but I also knew it wasn’t time for me to leave.

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24

Take your eyes off the clock…
The disappointment disappeared quickly as I was reminded of a principle. With the extended stay, more has been added to my life surpassing even my highest expectations! I call it the Ephesians 3:20 blessing. Can you imagine what we miss out on when we’re anxious? I suppose that’s why we’re told to pursue peace. Patience can make the difference between good, better, and best. It takes courage to be patient. And with your courage you need to take action; feed your faith by devouring the Word until you see His promises come to pass. Similar to me snacking before dinner. Remember, God always wants to position you to receive the most favorable outcome. He will never leave you behind or move ahead of you.

Find joy in hope…
Hope sustains, prospers, comforts, and strengthens your heart. Hope enables you to overcome the challenges on the journey. The meal I’m waiting for hasn’t been served, but I’m feeding my hunger until the plate is on the table.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him.”Psalm 24:8